Deadly Explosion Rocks Jehovah's Witnesses Convention in Kerala, India
Yesterday, on October 28, 2023, a tragic incident occurred at a Jehovah's Witnesses convention in Kerala, India. During a prayer meeting at the Zamra International Convention Centre in Kalamassery town, an explosion occurred, resulting in one fatality and injuring at least 36 people. The blast took place at around 9:40 am local time.
Authorities have identified the explosion as an improvised explosive device (IED) blast. Kerala's Director General of Police, Darvesh Saheb, stated that an investigation is underway to determine the culprits behind the attack. Authorities are treating this incident as a criminal act.
Shortly after the explosion, videos emerged online showing flames inside the convention centre and rescuers assisting people in evacuating the building. The Jehovah's Witnesses, known for its worldwide practice of door-to-door evangelism, was targeted during the prayer meeting. The movement promotes non-violence and remains politically neutral, with members abstaining from voting or serving in the military.
During a news conference, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Law and Order, MR Ajith Kumar, revealed that a person named Dominic Martin surrendered at a police station in Thrissur district, around 65 km north of the blast site. Dominic Martin claimed responsibility for the explosion, stating that he belonged to the same group as the Jehovah's Witnesses and stating grievances against the teachings of the congregation. However, the police are currently verifying his claims.
Local media reported that there were three separate blasts at the prayer gathering, targeting different areas of the convention hall. The explosions occurred immediately after the conclusion of a prayer session. TA Sreekumar, regional spokesperson for the Jehovah's Witnesses, described the sequence of events and the extent of the blasts.
Jehovah's Witnesses have faced persecution in various parts of the world, despite their pacifist beliefs. In Russia, the movement has been labeled as an "extremist" group, and many of its followers have been arrested in recent years. This incident in Kerala marks another unfortunate attack against the Jehovah's Witnesses community.
The investigation into the Jehovah's Witnesses convention bombing in Kerala is still ongoing, with authorities working to determine the motives and individuals responsible for the attack. It is a tragic event that has shaken the local community and raises concerns about religious freedom and security.